Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

14Nov/110

Sermon: How to Respond to Disaster

Herein lies one of the life messages that God has written on my heart over the course of the past year. When I chose this topic for my second sermon for Preaching III, I wanted to allow God to speak more fully into my life after having experienced a lot of significant events in 2010 and 2011:

Last spring, I lost my cousin in a motorcycle wreck.

Since the beginning of the year, I‘ve watched and prayed from afar as one of my fellow DTS graduates cancelled Ph.D plans to fight cancer.

This summer Stacy and I spent five days counseling victims of the tornado in Hackleburg, Alabama.

This fall I’ve been on a number of deployments as a Chaplain for crime events in the city of Dallas, including a homicide at a local bank.

Needless to say, seminary deals with the tough questions of life, but I wanted more than complex theological answers about sin—I wanted to formulate a message that I felt Scripture itself compellingly communicates to us when we experience tragedy. So many sermons I hear on this topic tend to shock us by delving into the messy details of the story, say a few things about God, and then end with a fluffy, feel-good ending of someone who experienced the tragedy and came out better. That can inspire us, but it usually does not ground us God’s words to us. It just leaves us feeling good for the person whose story we’ve heard. 

God has a better message for us than that. God has a message that applies to all of us—not just those of us that come out of the tragedy blessed. A message that leaves the Words of the Bible ringing in our ears, so that we can hear God when the storm hits our lives.

Brace yourself…this is not a feel good message…it’s a challenge.

Don’t argue with me…argue with the Bible…that’s the source of the message.

Don’t just listen to me…my message is just part 1 of what God says to us in disaster, the essential part. There’s a lot more that needs to be said, and should be considered. If you need more answers, consider reading C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain or another relevant book.

And finally…send me feedback. Your responses will make me a better preacher!

Sermon Exegetical & Theological Outlines (What the Bible says)

Sermon Homiletical Outline (How I present what God is saying)

Sermon Typed Transcript and Audio (My Presentation)

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